Alpina Builds the Almost-M3 Wagon BMW Won't
This is a 300 km/h capable station wagon
Factory BMW tuner Alpina knows what enthusiasts want. A 3 Series wagon with more power, an improved suspension, and some sweet style. In green. But as stunning as the B3 Touring is, you’re not allowed to have one.
Think of the B3 Touring as the M3 wagon that BMW isn’t ready to build. Though with the more grand-touring style of Alpina than the razor’s edge of BMW’s own M division. That starts with a 3.0L inline six fitted with a pair of turbochargers boosting the engine to 462 hp. 80 hp more than the M340i, and torque is up by even more from 369 lb-ft to a whopping 516. That power drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic that’s modified by Alpina with their special sauce version of the gearbox software. Giving it quicker shifts and a faster response as well as blocking out automatic redline shifts if you’re in manual mode. Those wheel-mounted padles are CNC machined from solid aluminum should you tick the right option box. An Alpina exhaust gives the B3 Touring an exhaust note more suited to the engine.
Alpina-specific spring rates and stiffer anti-roll bars are tuned to give the B3 better road holding, improved balance, and increased agility. But where BMW’s quickest reach more toward Sport +, Alpina has added a Comfort + mode instead. Giving the variable dampers the option to go even more relaxed if that’s what the driver wants. The variable steering’s comfort mode helps to do the same, focusing on directional stability and smoothness over knife-edge reactions.
Hiding behind the signature Alpina 20-spoke alloys are 395 mm front and 345 mm rear brakes, giving this faster 3 more stopping power. This is a 300 km/h capable station wagon, after all.
On the outside, Alpina has added optimized front air intakes that the company says increase cooling and improve aerodynamics. The Alpina-text on the lower apron doesn’t hurt the looks at all, either. That stunning green is one of two Alpina-specific paint colours that BMW offers, and it’s probably the one we’d take. The interior gets Alpina door sills and a build-number plaque. Increasing comfort are the hand-stitched leather sports steering wheel and seat upholstery that is both specific to Alpina and largely customizable.
But if you’re looking at bringing one of these home, you might end up the same colour as the B3 Touring’s paint. Green with envy. Because while BMW does make some Alpina models available in Canada, most notably the 7 Series-based B7, they aren’t bringing the standard new 3 wagon here. So don’t expect to see the Alpina on Canadian roads anytime soon.